Season of giving: Charities receive donations from Ranchos Water Company (January 3, 2016)

For the employees of Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company, this holiday season has special meaning. Like many local businesses, Ranchos has a tradition of holiday giving. In recent years, the company has partnered with the Apple Valley Fire Protection District to sponsor aSecret Santa program for local underprivileged children. This year the company decided to ask the employees: How should Ranchos give back to our community forthe holidays?

The employees responded enthusiastically with a variety of suggestions for charities close to their hearts, with an emphasis on veterans, the elderly, and especially children in need. Then, the wish list of holiday caring was put into action. With guidance from their colleagues, a small team of Ranchos employees, headed by Business Administration Manager Kristin Huffman, arranged partnerships and donationsto benefit a variety of local community organizations. The spirit of giving even extended beyond the company’s giving to Ranchos’ employees personally contributing toys andcash for various children’s causes.

Ranchos’ employees contributed to a number of community organizations and holiday events, including the CHiPs 4 Kids toy drive, the Happy Trails Children’s Foundation, Apple Valley Unified School District’s New Shoe Bank, the Barstow Sheriff’s station toy drive, and the United Way programs benefiting veterans and the elderly.

The Happy Trails Children’s Foundation’s Cooper Home cares for children who have been victims of abuse or neglect. Margaret Netcell, Operations Manager for the Foundation, noted that the holidays are an emotional and difficult time for the children at Cooper Home. It’s a time when you want to be with your friends and family, and unfortunately, most of these kids can’t go home, said Netcell. Through the efforts of Ranchos employees, each of the children will receive gift cardsfor a shopping trip.

Earlier this year, Ranchos officially took over operation of the water system in Yermo, a small community east of Barstow. The Sheriff’s station in Barstow, in connection with the local fire department, holds a holiday toy drive, and Ranchos employees coordinated a special donation of toys for distribution in Yermo. Analeah Leon- Guerrero, a Sheriff Custody Assistant at the Barstow Station, helped coordinate Ranchos’ involvement.

Our funds are super low this year, Leon-Guerrero said. It’s been hard for people to donate. We were seriously wondering how we were going to manage this year.

Additionally, Ranchos employees randomly selected 40 customers with various hardships in Apple Valley to receive holiday food baskets containing items for atraditional holiday dinner, as well as a grocery store voucher for a turkey. Twenty baskets were given out for Thanksgiving, and an additional twenty will be distributed in time for Christmas.

The employees also reached into their own pockets to buy new bicycles and helmets for several under-privileged children, and the company matched their donations. The Apple Valley Unified School District and Yermo School worked closely with Ranchos’ staff to identify the deserving children and coordinate the giving with their parents.

Source: Daily Press